Thursday, January 4, 2024

Saying 83


Jesus said, ‘The images are visible to man, but the light in them is hidden in the image of the Father’s light. The light will be revealed, but his image is hidden by his light.’


Compare Sayings 22 and 50. Humans as ‘images’ (Gen 1.26–27) are visible to one another, but the ‘light’ within them is unseen. The concept of this light probably developed out of Saying 24, from the original version of the book. The light came to be identified with the sinless condition of the primordial first man, whom some traditions in Second Temple Judaism claimed was a being of light before his exile from the garden of Eden. (Compare Saying 11.) The placement of the phrase ‘in the image of the Father’s light’ is ambiguous. It may be read as finishing the first sentence or beginning the second, which result in essentially opposite claims, that a person’s light is ‘hidden in’ or ‘revealed’ by ‘the image of the Father’s light’. The antecedent of ‘his’ in the final clause is probably the Father for both instances. The ultimate result, wherever the two sentences are divided, is that a human’s light is hidden by their image, but God’s image is hidden by his light. The human’s light will be made visible, but God’s image will remain hidden.

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